FAQ’s about QPM
This section contains the questions most frequently asked about QPM® and the theory behind the system. Naturally, these questions are liable to change, over time, as new questions arise in the future. Currently, it takes the place of the bibliography, which will be back on line in its new format in a few weeks’ time.
Our wish is for total transparency with regard to those interested in our technology, while trying to keep things simple and ensure that our answers are as useful as possible.
Although very accurate, the information produced here below is intended for the benefit of non-specialists.
What is the purpose of QPM® ?
Does QPM® present any health risks ?
What is the electrical impedance of the human bod ?
How stable is the body's electrical impedance ? Is it observable and reliable ?
Is the theory of measuring impedance on a living organism something recent? Is it scientifically proven ? What are some other applications of modern impedance measurement ?
Can QPM® make mistakes ?
What do the QPM® electronics consist in ?
What type of software is used to enable QPM® to operate ?
Why is the database that enables interpretation of the QPM® measurements located in a remote server and not in the operator's local PC ?
Where does the name « Quantic Potential Measurement » come from ?
Why does the message about QPM® go unperceived at times, despite our efforts ?
What is the purpose of QPM®
QPM® is above all a company that has developed an innovative product and wants to share it and have it appreciated by as many people as possible and perhaps across the globe. Outside of this classic approach, QPM® is a « good citizen » company and seeks to participate proactively in the humanistic approach to social relations.
Through the nature of its activity QPM® promotes the emergence of new representations. Hence, QPM® takes an enthusiastic part in the creation of new maps to enrich the knowledge of what it still a very ill-known universe: the human brain and how it functions.
We are still in the very early stages of an exciting adventure. No avenues must be left unexplored. So, let’s dare to innovate.
Does QPM® present any health risks?
No, QPM® is not hazardous to health, for the electrical energy in play during a measurement is extremely low. Furthermore, the measurement is completed very quickly, in just a few seconds.
Supplied via the computer’s USB port, the QPM® electronics comprise optically isolated circuits and an uncoupling and control system that maintains a very low voltage that is absolutely safe.
As for the current that traverses the organism via the electrodes, for information, it represents on average 0.00002 Ampere. QPM® takes into account the true impedance of the subject’s deep tissues.
What is the electrical impedance of the human body?
Firstly, we should remind the reader that the value (order of magnitude) of a conductor’s electrical resistance characterizes the « strength” with which it opposes the current’s passage. Resistance is expressed in Ohms, symbolized by the letter Ω.
In the case of living beings, and more specifically humans, this resistance is difficult to measure with a mere off-the-shelf Ohmmeter. Indeed, to perform this measurement, the instrument is equipped with two electrically polarized electrodes that will be installed in contact with the skin or mucous membranes.
Notice immediately that you do not obtain an exploitable measurement, because it fluctuates rapidly and has an unfortunate tendency to increase over time. This is a known phenomenon that can be observed, for instance, when dealing with an electrolytic solution (as in the case of the human body) and which is principally due to the polarization of the electrodes. Under the action of the difference in potential, however slight and fleeting, we see a migration of the ions that tends to neutralize the passage of the current. Suffice it to say that the electrical resistance of the organism is not easily measured in a reliable way with a simple device such as an Ohmmeter.
To remedy this polarization phenomenon, the researchers very quickly took an interest in alternating current. With a.c., one can achieve a stable and reproducible measurement by alternating fairly rapidly the polarity of the electrodes. Obviously, the values of current used must remain as low as possible. Therefore, the impedance characterizes the strength with which an electrical conductor (such as the human organism) opposes the passage of alternating current at a known frequency.
How stable is the body's electrical impedance ?
It is observable and reliable ?
Maps of bodily impedance differ from one individual to another and from one area of the body to another. Nevertheless, despite these variations, there are some very stable and representative electrophysiological typologies.
For one same individual, the result of the measurements proves to be relatively reproducible from one moment to the next and from one area to another (in instantaneous measurement mode), if the subject has not undergone any strong stimuli or trauma between the two measurements. Obviously, compliance with the experimental protocols is essential.
The most telling analogy would be that of a photograph of a face. The photograph of an individual’s face will never be perfectly identical (in the strict sense of the term) from one photo to another. And yet, if the photos are placed alongside one another, any observer (even with little training) despite not knowing the person will easily be able to distinguish that one face from a host of others.
To complete this analogy with the photography of the face, the mapping of bodily impedance comprises some variables and some invariables. In this alone, the recognition of such zones yields a great deal of information.
Is the theory of measuring impedance on the living organism a recent development ? Is it scientifically proven ? What are some other applications of modern impedance measurement ?
The potential uses of impedance measurement in biology, medicine or psychology, has been under exploration for many years by renowned researchers in universities or laboratories of repute.
Research interest in this field goes back almost a century.
Until recently, outlets were limited due to technological problems, but also by virtue of the complexity relating to the digital signal processing.
Thanks to progress in the electronics, computer science and the results of basic research, more and more applications are coming to light.
The brief history we propose below derives from the remarkable work of two young researchers from the University of Compiègne, Samy BAYOD and Aude HERMANT. It well summarizes the era of research in the field of bio-impedance :
1907 Cremer tests the phenomenon of bio-impedance on an isolated frog’s heart.
1926 First use of contact electrodes in the measurement of pulmonary impedance, with views of the diagnosis of edema.
1940 Nyober develops the theory of bio-impedance by likening the studied body to a cylinder; he introduces the notion of the resistivity of the blood measured in Ohm/cm. The purpose of this study was to measure fluctuations in blood flow.
1962 Thomasett discovers the relationship between bio-impedance and the total quantity of water in the body.
1966 Kubicek picks up Nyober’s work and contributes real progress in the technology of bio-impedance. He substitutes for the notion of impedance, the notion of a first derivative: dZ/dt which represents the rate of fluctuation in impedance. On NASA astronauts, he tests an equation which determines the volume of systolic ejection as a function of the bio-impedance. This leads to the development of the very first instrument for monitoring bio-impedance: the Minnesota Impedance Cardiograph.
1970 B. Pullen of Manchester University proposed the idea of impedance imaging using the differences in conductivity between the tissues. This imaging process is completely new and different from the previous techniques. Furthermore, the sensitivity of the tissues offers a fluctuation in the values of high conductivity (higher than the coefficient of attenuation of the X-rays).
1978 Henderson develops an acquisition system for data in impedance imagery using 144 electrodes. He applies a voltage and recovers a current.
1983 The first image of impedance in an in vivo experiment was done by Barber & Brown and Nyober, who, alongside of this, applied the principle of density of electrical resistivity to determine a subject’s TBW, or Total Body Water.
1985 Sramek, Bernstein & Quail work to improve on Kubicek’s equation. These various works resulted in the development of the NCCOM3to be marketed by Biomed Medical Manufacturing (USA).This non-invasive instrument for measuring cardiac flow contributed real progress. It is still used today, having benefited from 8 updates.
1987 Kim developed an imagery system with 192 electrodes, using the same method as Henderson’s.
1990 Brown and Rossell separately developed semi-parallel data acquisition systems. Contrary to Henderson & Kim’s system, a current is applied and the voltage recovered.
Brown also contributed a major thrust to impedance imaging by developing a plethora of clinical applications such as : pulmonary perfusion, blood vessels distension, pelvic congestion, measurement of the thoracic fluids, pulmonary edema., etc. Although still in its early stages, impedance imaging has a promising future.
For the future of this technique, there are currently some thirty teams of research scientists working on bio-impedance (and particularly on imagery). Most of them are located in North America and Western Europe. Regarding imagery, the research is oriented towards dynamic, frequential 3D imaging and high speed data acquisition.
Readers who wish to know more on this topic are strongly advised to visit the site devoted to bio-impedance, from which these few lines were taken.
Work abounds on the topic so it is impossible to give an exhaustive review. Also, given the stakes for industry, we know that some laboratories keep their expertise on the subject strictly confidential.
Here are a few chosen examples which give an idea of the potential of this little known technique :
- One application that caught our attention consists in integrating a miniaturized impedance meter into a watch, the two electrodes being only a few centimeters apart. The promoters of this technology established a statistical correlation between glycemia and the in situ measurement of the bio-conductivity. Just imagine the possible benefits of this, for diabetic patients.
- Thanks to its non-invasive nature, the thoracic impedance measuring instrument also has a definite future in the field of space medicine. It has been established that the measurement of blood flow and its components, by this method, is very reliable in the zero gravity context.
- Biology laboratories are concerned for counting leucocytes, hematites, blood platelets, and the mean red blood cell volume, performed by monitoring the variations in impedance.
- Lastly, one of the most popular applications is the impedance meter scale, which enables estimating the Total Body Water or TBW. Fat mass and muscular mass can both be estimated very accurately by this method.
Can QPM® make mistakes ?Without pondering the relevance of this open and generic question, like any other human endeavor, the answer is yes!
We can say that QPM® does not escape the rule. The essential thing is to clearly set forth the limits of the system and make sure that the users are aware of these, in order to ensure that results remain within the maximum reliability range for use in normal conditions.
The QPM® designers intentionally chose a modular system with a database in a host server principally because QPM® is an evolutive system. In other words, we know that QPM® will progress over time and that the database will be enriched with the results and feedback from new measurements. Hence, by definition, QPM® is still perfectible.
Regarding mistakes, these can be of several kinds. There are the classic experimental errors, generally due to wrong handling, connection problems, failure to comply with protocols, or perhaps hostile environments, in terms of the preparation of the subject. Though rare, such problems do occasionally happen, and in most cases are easily identified upon restoration of the measurement.
In a wholly different vein, and even less f requently, errors can occur as a result of the sequels of physical trauma in the measured subject, e.g. deep-seated scars, consolidated fractures or perhaps some highly inflammatory arthroses (these can significantly alter the impedance of the tissues and interfere with results). Here again, the few questions that accompany the restoration of the measurements, enable identifying and compensating for such artifacts.
What do the QPM® electronics consist in ?The QPM® electronics were designed to adapt to a variety of applications.
The housing is composed of 8 input/output connectors to which specific sensors are connected. In the current configuration, the sensors are simple electrodes and only 6 contact points are used (out of eight available).
This housing also includes a USB port for connection to a PC present on site. This PC contains software that controls the electronics and imposes the measurement parameters.
The present QPM® applications use only a small portion of the system’s resources. This modular electronic system is composed of a main mother board which acts as the interface between the subject submitting to measurement and an information processing system. A few in-depth details: The mother board is an opto-coupled multi-channel electronics board. A multiplex enables management of the input/output points. It controls the bilateral communication between a module connected onto the subject and a module connected onto the PC. The module connected to the electrodes via the multiplexor is responsible for emitting and recovering the signal. The calibration of this module is ultra-precise and of impeccable stability. It is immunized against electromagnetic interference and is temperature-compensated. Furthermore, before each measurement, this system performs an auto-test which tells you whether maintenance is needed, or not. On the other side, there is the USB module that injects the programming codes into the measurement module and transfers the results to the PC. The QPM® electronics were designed to be a sort of highly versatile interface enabling electrophysiological measurements to be performed in various configurations on living organisms.
It can work in "instantaneous measurement mode" or conversely in "continuous measurement mode". In this latter case, monitoring can be done over as long a period as the technician controlling the experiment desires. The results reveal the subject’s electro-physiological fluctuations in real time, enabling interesting correlations between stimuli and the consecutive reactions.
The sensors (the electrodes, in the current application) are interchangeable in order to be able to measure other orders of magnitude. Obviously, the USB interface can be disconnected and replaced, with a Bluetooth system, for instance. In this case, it would be possible to receive the results on any adapted system, even something as simple as a cell phone.
As Patrick VISIER says, « the future is in smart objects » so QPM® is in the race.
What type of software is used to enable QPM® to operate ?The QPM® system calls for several softwares having distinctly different functions, and which were not designed by the same teams.
The electronics are controlled by a software running under the Microsoft Windows™ XP or Vista operating system.
It operates :
- the USB communication with the measurement housing.
- the booting of the electronics.
- the programming of the on-board circuits.
- the auto-test to check that the system is functioning correctly.
- the launching of a measurement in response to the operator’s request (in fact, it launches a cycle of measurements).
- recovery of the data and their mathematical pre-processing.
- encryption and transmission to the server, for final analysis. This software’s interface is highly ergonomic, enabling the operator to devote his attention to the subject (and not to the technology). We should mention also that to achieve a quality measurement, the measuring must be done in a controlled environment as described in the user manual.
Once the measurement is done, the professional user connects to the Internet to transmit the results to a server and to launch the specific application. This software will convert the digital data into information to be interpreted. The information is hosted on the QPM® and operates via any navigator, so that it is compatible with all existing PCs and operating systems (PC, Mac / Microsoft, Unix, Linux, etc.). These kinds of host solutions are referred to as Application Service Providers (ASP).
Hence, it takes the operator just a few minutes to recover the information useful to his work. Via his navigator, he clicks on the Url www.quanticpotential.com and enters his login and password.
His account is configured according to the types of applications he is subscribed to.
The functions are as follows :
- Management of individuals and their directory in the PC.
- Importing of measurements.
- Analysis of the quality of the measurements.
- Decoding of the measurements.
- Restoration of the interpretation, depending on the selected application.
- Archiving of the measurements for as long as the user wishes. Thus, the user can return to a measurement at any time, to re-examine its content.
- Configuration and transfer of the interpretation
- In situ printout of the results of the measurements. The system can operate in a variety of languages.
Use of the application comes with hotline access and the operator can contact the hotline directly via the interface.
Why is the database that enables interpretation of the QPM® measurements located in a remote server and not in the operator's local PC ?The prime element of response resides in the fact that there is not just one, but several databases independently of the application domain. Soon, these will exist also in several languages. The volume of such files is considerable.
Then, as in any expert system, each database is enriched with the daily accumulation of experience. Users thus benefit from the very latest improvements, in real time.
Lastly, these databases are professionally maintained and hence are guaranteed against all corruption, which is not necessarily the case in a 100% local configuration.
Where does the name « Quantic Potential Measurement» come from ?The English term Quantic refers to the nature of the variables and to the polynomial processing we use in our algorithms.
Processing is based on equivalent variables corresponding to the 30 "branches" or areas of the organism measured. These measurements are refined and the mathematical means established then "mixed" in specific polynomials relating to each criterion analyzed.
In clear terms, there is no simplistic correspondence between an area and a specific quality because 30 measured areas would return only 30 criteria.
In fact, by means of a mathematical processing done in the server, it is possible to extract information (inaccessible by merely reading the direct measurements) then to restore the results in the form of very complete diagrams. Let’s take a practical example: if we are looking for information on the subject’s thorax, then our first reflex will be to examine the results of the measurements made between the right hand and the left hand. Indeed, the signal injected on one side will come out on the other side, after partially transiting through the area to be assessed. Hence we already have two measurements that may prove useful. However, this is only a very simplistic procedure, for two reasons:
- The measurement under consideration is not strictly representative of the thorax since the current also transits through the subject’s arms and hands.
- Information relative to the thorax area (for instance) is also present in other measurements such as the hands-feet or the forehead-feet branches.
Why does the message about QPM® go unperceived at times, despite our best efforts ?The reproach is often leveled at the QPM® team that they are too technical and sometimes, on the contrary, that they lack scientific substances in their explanations and references.
So, let us remind the reader that the principles in play are not simple. Unless one has trans-disciplinary knowledge in such varied fields as electronics, electricity, biology, psychology, computer science, bio-sensors (to mention but a few) QPM® technology is difficult to understand.
QPM® did not appear spontaneously on a table top. It is the result of lengthy and costly development, done in a rigorously controlled framework.
We trust that these answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions, which will soon be expanded upon with other questions and answers, will firstly prove useful in clarifying our approach, and the principles implemented in our system.
The QPM® team remains at your disposal to answer any other queries you may have